The MSW curriculum is rooted in the program’s commitment to human rights and the promotion of social and economic justice. The curriculum weaves together classroom instruction with field experiences to enrich learning and prepare students for professional social work practice in a variety of settings.
The MSW curriculum consists of two parts, the generalist curriculum (introduction to social work values and the methods of promoting well-being through prevention and intervention with individuals, families and communities) and the specialized curriculum (development of advanced competencies and preparation in the student’s preferred area of practice). Coursework is supplemented with two field education experiences, which are also categorized as generalist and specialized. Students must satisfy all generalist curricular and field requirements before moving to specialized coursework or fieldwork. The curriculum is rounded out with elective courses, allowing students to explore a variety of topics or concentrate to a field of study.
Formerly known as foundation curriculum, courses include:
- SWG 511 Dialectic of Oppression and Liberation
- SWG 533 Methods of Social Work Research
- SWG 541 Social Welfare Policies and Services
- SWG 554 Human Development across the Lifespan
- SWG 560 Mental Health: A Recovery Approach
- SWG 555 Organizations and Communities
- SWG 501 SW Generalist Practice 1 + SWG 596 Generalist Field Practicum I
- SWG 502 SW Generalist Practice II + SWG 597 Generalist Field Practicum II
Formerly known as advanced/concentration curriculum, courses include:
- SWG 562 Specialized SW Practice with Families
- SWG 534 Advanced Research Methods: Program Evaluation
- SWG 542 Specialized Social Work Practice with Communities
- SWG 561 Specialized Practice with Individuals + SWG 598 Specialized Field Practicum I
- SWG 563 Specialized Practice: Integrative Seminar + SWG 599 Specialized Field Practicum II
The M.S.W. is a 60-credit program with a concentration in direct practice with individuals, families, and communities. The program can be completed in two years of full-time study and three or four years of part-time study. Qualified applicants who have earned a B.S.W. within the past seven years from a CSWE-accredited program may qualify for advanced standing status, reducing the number of required credits to 36 (which can be completed in 1 or 2 years).
Regular standing and advanced standing programs are offered at both the West Chester and Philadelphia campuses. Currently, students attending the Philadelphia campus can complete the program in 3 or 4 years (6-12 credits/semester). Advanced standing students may complete the program at either campus in one or two years of study, depending on the desired courseload.
Besides course work, students participate in two field education experiences in social service agencies totaling 952 hours or 504 hours for advanced standing students. Field placements generally run from September through May.
Required coursework includes nine hours of graduate-level electives, which may be graduate social work courses or related courses offered by other departments. Visit our Electives page for more information.
In accordance with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education, the MSW Program at West Chester University measures and reports student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of 9 core competencies, representing dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to demonstrate during their professional training.